Isabella Stewart Gardner by John Singer Sargent, 1888, oil on canvas (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum P30WI)
Above the central portal to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is her motto:
“C’est mon plaisir” (“it is my pleasure”)
This sums up perfectly the collection housed at Fenway Court: a unique and beautiful museum created by a unique individual, who declared that when she died, it should be left:
“for the education and enjoyment of the public forever”
Last year I was lucky enough to visit Isabella’s wonderful museum and it made me want to learn more about her as a collector, and a female one at that, who created almost her own cultural centre and pulled into her circle a wide range of interesting artistic and intellectual people, summarised through an array of beautiful objects.
Isabella was born Isabella Stewart in 1840, in New York City. Her education was a…
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